Friday, 20 August 2021

William Morris Tour News

Well......."I'm back"!! It has been almost 7 weeks since I chatted and a lot has happened in that time.....two more lots of surgery are behind me and the crazy chemo curls are still with me (but I am trying to embrace them with more colourful headbands), so now it is time to move forward to more positive things.... if we can during this uncertain era of Covid. Our thoughts have most definitely been with our neighbours in New South Wales as they grapple with the increasing daily statistics of the delta strain. 

I am sure we all need something joyous to look forward to so maybe you would like to join me in just over 3 months time (if the jolly borders are open!), on another William Morris in Adelaide tour...in fact this will be the 8th tour I have had the pleasure of sharing since 2018. 

So if this tickles your fancy and you would like to join me for a wonderful week forgetting about all of our worries then let the great team at Renaissance Tours know.......tell them I sent you!! This is just a very tiny glimpse of what we will see (and in no particular order).......sumptuous furnishings, decorative art, traditional Adelaide architecture, beautiful gardens and a whole lot more..........




















Just today I had the privilege of sharing some of Adelaide's connection to Morris & Co on the radio with the lovely Claudia Chan Shaw on her Arts Friday program. If you click on this link it will take you to Eastside Radio but please note I am not an "authority" or expert on Morris! I am sure I made a few mistakes throughout the interview but I was a tad nervous! Just scroll down to the little arrow that points to my name Interview. I hope to see you in Adelaide! 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

I'm taking some time out (from social media)

Just a few days ago I was once again forced to confront my recent heath "detour" with an early start, all rugged up in the chilly darkness. I had to be at the hospital before 7am so I'd had little sleep, but I knew the anaesthetic would soon fix that as I was about to embark on another lot of surgery. Going through those hospital doors always brings some anxiety and I counted in my diary that this was visit number 41 since my diagnosis last year and only 6 of them were with Larry.....Covid put a stop to that and I can tell you enduring life saving procedures (especially the weekly chemo), was really tough without him beside me.......

According to my consent form this recent procedure was "excision of redundant tissue post bilateral mastectomies". When the surgeon's nurse rang me the next day she asked if I was feeling "trussed up" which made me immediately think of the Christmas turkey! Not sure how it feels but I do know sleep is not so comfortable as now my original wounds extend around to my back......almost feels like I was partially decapitated and stitched back up again! I have another anaesthetic in 2 weeks, this time to remove the BRCA2 threat of ovarian cancer. Sometimes I feel that this is overkill and maybe 'ignorance is bliss' but one has to go with the medical advice from my specialists. Knowing I have this gene defect also carries the risk of pancreatic cancer, melanoma and colon and stomach cancer, but who knows what tomorrow will bring for any of us?. So days by the seaside even in the winter chill are so nice but I felt for the young ones still doing their life saving training.......




During this vulnerable time I have found issues from my past have resurfaced and I am reminded of many of them every day. One of them is that I have never truly got over how difficult publishing my William Morris books really was. I have little financial reward to show for it but I certainly have incredible memories that would not have happened without the books...especially the William Morris Tours both in the UK and at home. I still feel sad when I see the books are still selling and any royalty payment (that only comes once a year), hardly covers a new outfit! Merchandise are still produced and for me there is no royalty at all.......I am certainly not a business person! More recently Instagram has been flooded with images of my designs in Russia. Another regretful decision that I did signing over the rights for the books to be printed in Russian all for a pittance so that I receive no royalty at all....but I am glad the books bring others joy and I hope William Morris would be pleased.......
When you become an author you are encouraged to have social media exposure including Facebook, Instagram (which I only did more recently), and of course to be a blogger which was the common thing back then. This is something I have struggled with all along when I started my blog back in 2008. I am not good at any sort of sales pitch or with being the centre of attention, but I have so loved meeting so many of you through this platform. So one of the reasons for this post is to say I am going to be taking some time out from social media for a few weeks. Being vulnerable has meant my normal positivity has taken a back seat. Having been the one who almost always instigates family and friend catch ups has tested me and is one of the things I have more recently struggled with.  A couple of health professionals have noticed a change in my demeanour and had suggested I seek some counselling. So the day before this most recent surgery I had my first session with the most delightful psychologist who patiently listened to me for one and half hours......what a lovely smile Nicole has and her empathy and understanding shows.....
Inevitably the tears welled up but I know this is going to be a very positive thing for me to do. While I am grateful my hair is growing back it is truly challenging trying to manage it knowing it will possibly be two years before I look like I used to! I am grateful for life saving surgery and treatment but the disfigurement and discomfort is there to remind me each day. The pins and needles in the feet and the dropping of items from my numb hands, along with the other chemo side effects continue to linger and test my patience.....just for now as I know this too will pass. And I know I am not alone and so many others are in much worse situations than me....especially with all that the pandemic has brought to the world. I have followed two other breast cancer women who both have a high profile in media. They have both been incredibly positive and such fun to follow cheering me up each day with their cheeky sense of humour as they face treatment......but more recently they too have suffered mentally and I have to say that was incredibly reassuring to me as they are both such very positive people. So for now I will immerse myself in helping others through charity group projects even using some help on some days.......

She doesn't know it yet but when she turns 7 in a couple of weeks she is getting her first sewing machine from us! But she does know this was being made as she wanted dolls like her Kindikids but she hasn't seen the final quilt........

William Morris will always be a big part of my life and just recently I saw that Next Fashion had teamed up with Morris & Co to produce some Morris inspired fashion. I am not one to buy online but these shirts arrived from the UK in just one week!......


I'm not sure Morris would be pleased with the quality and price but my two treasures have already been washed and tucked away for when the warmer season returns. I wish I could talk Larry into a piece or two but for now I will just admire.......the model and all!!.......
I did talk Larry into a radical change in our open plan kitchen/family room though......much to his angst!! Some time back we bought a new refrigerator using power saving "Inverter" technology. Whilst we welcomed a much quieter fridge we weren't told that they run for 45 minutes and are quiet for only 15 minutes every hour! I sit in the family room for most of my TV viewing while Larry is in his snug. The noise does my head in so I talked him into moving it out to our laundry/utility room! What bliss it now is.......we might not be able to get out the back laundry door but we hardly used that door anyway .....happy wife happy life they say! My left ear was the target and you can see how close it used to be.....
With a quick measure I worked out that a corner unit that used to be near the dining table fitted perfectly where the fridge used to be and while the laundry seems smaller it has certainly been a welcome change........

I will conclude with some more happiness that warms my heart. Brenda messaged me a day or so ago with a photo of her "William and May" quilt and what a beauty it is. It sure makes me happy that others enjoy turning my drawings into lasting treasures so thankyou for all of that Brenda (and Julie).......

Thankyou for reading this far......and thankyou for your understanding while I have some much needed time out. With the way time flies I am sure I will be back soon but if not you know the reason why. Do take good care and be safe and well xx